It’s National Bird Day

Yes, it is that Day, and as the years pass I get more interested in birds with their fascinating repertoire of behaviors and lifestyles. Here’s a lovely bird:

Speaking of ravens, here’s a photo from reader JCM from New Mexico:

In a New Year’s morning blizzard here in Taos, New Mexico, our raven Hook da Bird reappears to eat some chicken. That hooked beak permits him to tear apart the fryer chickens we feed to the corvids far more quickly than do the other ravens, themselves no slouches at, um, ravenous carnivory.

Alas, we seem only able to photograph Hook with phones, as he disappears instantly when a “real” camera with a circular lens is pointed his way.

While I’ve fed corvids for decades, Hook da Bird has only been around for two years as far as I know. His approach to the corvid table is always more devious than that of his conspecifics, and unlike them he remains much more skittish in the presence of humans.

The corvid table is also visited by crows, magpies, scrub and piñon jays, and even the occasional Yanqui-style bluejay. Non-corvid meat-eaters include flickers and other woodpeckers, and of course starlings.

Some of my favorite birds photographed over the last few days.

White tern chick, photographed yesterday close to Waikiki Beach:

A muscovy duck:

An endangered endemic species, the Hawaiian coot:

An threatened Hawaiian subspecies, the Hawaiian stilt:

Fergus the duck, part mallard, part muscovy:

Another endangered Hawaiian subspecies, the Hawaiian moorhen:

Black-crowned night heron:

Red-crested cardinal:

Myna:

Zebra dove:

Photographing the Hawaiian coot. We all love birds!

And a video of my favorite birds from 2018:

29 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    In the Hawaiian Stilt photo,if one looks carefully at the center specimen, there are in fact an infinite number of stilts all lined up perfectly so they are hidden behind the one we see.

    • rickflick
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Well, I think it was infinite, but the last one flew so it’s infinity – 1.

  2. Barry Lyons
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    This is a nice story for National Bird Day:

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I am pretty sure I have seen the night heron here in Wichita. Will have to check my photos and see if I have something to prove it.

  4. Steve Pollard
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Great pics. I wish we had as many birds in the UK as you do!

  5. Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    These endemic birds are so beautiful! I hope they survive all invasions on their islands.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Heaven help me, I cannot desist:

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Why hasn’t that song made the “Worst of…” lists? I guess because it is so bad we don’t even think of it as a song.

      Did he forget he’s lipsynching? He’s flapping his mike at the end, nowhere near his mouth…

      • rickflick
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        At the end? How far did you get?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted January 5, 2019 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

          Wait, wot? You didn’t stick around until the end to hear those Cole Porter/Ira Gershwin-worthy lyrics “pa-pa, ma-ma-mow, pa-pa ma-ma-mow”? 🙂

          • rickflick
            Posted January 5, 2019 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

            I got 10 seconds in…click!

        • Diane G
          Posted January 5, 2019 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

          I watched it all–couldn’t stop. 😀

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted January 6, 2019 at 11:34 am | Permalink

            Masochist!
            Is a Maosochist someone who reads his Little Red Book cover to cover before bed?

            • Diane G
              Posted January 7, 2019 at 2:22 am | Permalink

              Let me guess…you had a typo at first and thought, “why let thisgo to waste?”

              😀

              And a Massochist hates going to church. (Or a certain commonwealth on the US east coast…)

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted January 8, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

                Yep. Typos are a subtle probe into one’s mind. I would advise a sewage-diver’s suit before attempting to interpret them.

      • Posted January 5, 2019 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Yes, at the end.

    • BJ
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      NOOOOOOO why did you put this in my head!

      Damn you, Ken!

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        I’ve got a brother-in-law who pulls that one every Thanksgiving. No shit.

        • BJ
          Posted January 5, 2019 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

          Sounds like grounds for divorce.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted January 5, 2019 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

            That’s what I keep tellin’ my sister. 🙂

  7. BJ
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    That muscovy duck is one odd duck! It looks like it has some sort of horrible disease.

  8. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    birds with their fascinating repertoire of behaviors and lifestyles

    Indeed, fascinating.
    That such small heads can contain such small (of geometric necessity) brains, but produce such complex behaviours (tool use, vocal mimicry with occasional meaning resonance) … is a major challenge to the question of “what is needed to produce meaningful behaviour?”
    Answering that is going to be a hard topic.

    • Diane G
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      Well, their brains are packed differently…

      https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bird-brains-have-as-many-neurons-as-some-primates/

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        … Which begs all sorts of questions about how that happened.
        Query : a flying organism can house a brain capable of reproducing human speech, and (much more arguably) understanding some aspects of human speech. How, and how could the implied structures be incorporated into Hoomin brains?
        We won’t be allowed to investigate that, for a long time.

        • Diane G
          Posted January 5, 2019 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

          Seems like we already have those two abilities down pretty well…

          ;D

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted January 6, 2019 at 11:37 am | Permalink

            But not very efficiently.

  9. Bill Morrison
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Hook da Bird in Taos appears to have a beak deformity. That over extended hook is not normal. See: https://studentblogs.viu.ca/danagullison/2015/11/03/increasing-occurrences-of-beak-deformities-emerging-in-northwestern-crows/


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